The White House announced Monday that President Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush, would meet Tuesday in Tanzania during the last stage of Obama’s week-long trek through Africa.
Obama and Bush both will attend a wreath-laying ceremony Tuesday in Dar es Salaam to pay tribute to the 11 people killed at the U.S. Embassy there in 1998, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
Many had speculated that the two would cross paths since Bush is also in Tanzania this week for a conference on African women. First lady Michelle Obama and former first lady Laura Bush are also headliners at the event.
Carney said he did not expect the two presidents to make remarks during their joint appearance.
Obama is being forced to share the African stage with Bush, who made fighting AIDS there a top goal of his administration. It is one of the rare Bush foreign-policy initiatives lauded across party lines.
“The United States has really done wonderful work through the PEPFAR program, started under my predecessor, President Bush, and continued through our administration,” Obama said in South Africa. “We’ve seen more than $3.7 billion in supporting South Africa’s efforts to combat HIV and AIDS.”
Bush remains widely popular in Africa, thanks largely to the billions of dollars he devoted to fighting epidemics across the continent. Critics have called for the Obama administration to spend more money in Africa, but recent budget battles in Washington have diminished the American investments there.
Still, Obama insists he is doing all he can to limit the spread of AIDS and other diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Already, our commitment to fight HIV/AIDS has saved millions, and allows us to imagine what was once unthinkable: an AIDS-free generation,” Obama told students at the University of Cape Town on Sunday.